Playing video games at the age of 9 is far from rare, but to go on to secure the world’s fastest time on the driving simulator computer game: ‘Gran Turismo 5’ in a Red Bull X1 car at the Circuit de Monaco, is a feat like no other. Nine year old Lewis Appiagyei has developed exceptional skill and coordination which has earned him a name in the racing world. Having secured the title as ‘Junior Rookie of the Year’ he has gained recognition from private equity group Bridgepoint. The sponsorship from Bridgepoint further cements the idea that Lewis is a trailblazer to watch. Sharing a name and birthday as famous racer Lewis Hamilton, he hopes to follow in his hero’s footsteps and boldly exclaims ‘I want to be a Formula 1 champion! Finding the right balance between school and racing, Lewis admits that he is lucky to have found his passion at such a young age. Paving the way for other young people to partake in racing, we at GUBA have been more than impressed with this young talent. We give Lewis Appiagyei a chance to open up about his life so far in this detailed and exclusive interview.
How did you get into karting?
At the age of 3 I developed an interest in cars when my Dad got a PSP with two racing games. I tried out the games and I managed to beat my Dad easily, that was when my parents realized that I had good hand-eye coordination. So when I was seven years old I received a voucher for a karting lesson at Buckmore Park for Christmas. A lot of Formula 1 legends have raced there before. I enjoyed it a lot and after I completed three lessons I became a Bambino racer there. Eventually I moved up to the juniors and last year I became ‘Junior Rookie of the Year’.
How do you feel when you are racing?
I feel like I am unbeatable. I feel very lucky to be able to race. I also have to be focused while I’m driving and concentrate on my techniques.
How do you feel about your sponsorship?
I feel very excited because I know it will be the next step up the motorsport ladder. It is great when somebody outside your own family shows faith in you and wants to help you succeed. I am not too excited though because I still have to concentrate.
How are you preparing for the Honda cadet series?
I exercise to keep my energy levels up. I am reading books about the racing lines and the science of racing. I will also take part in practice sessions the day before my race day.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be an F1 champion. It has always been my dream.
How do you manage school work and racing?
Every day after school I get out an exercise book and do some work which is a lot tougher than my school work. I do it for an hour or two so I can do some training for my racing.
Do you have any siblings?
I have a little sister called Aliana Asantewaa. She is 4 years old and always comes to support me on my race days.
Do your friends treat you like a celebrity?
No. They treat me like a normal friend but they think that it is pretty cool that I have trophies and have been in newspapers.
Tell us something you did not know about you?
When I was 1 I moved to Hong Kong and lived there for 2 1/2 years.
What do you enjoy aside from racing?
I belong to a football and a fencing club and I also enjoy swimming.
Who is your hero?
I have a lot of heroes such as Mike Tyson and Willey T. Ribs but my main hero is Lewis Hamilton.
GUBA would like to wish Lewis all the best in his upcoming races and hope to see him as the Formula 1 champion in a few years.